Michel Barnier

Presidential hopeful Michel Barnier gains ground with U-turn on EU and immigration


Michel Barnier, a former EU commissioner and chief Brexit negotiator for the bloc, is one of five contenders to become the presidential candidate for France’s conservative Les Républicains party, which will choose the nominee in a vote this week. Barnier, 70, has moved from outsider to frontrunner, the result of a remarkable ideological U-turn; once a champion of European integration and a ‘humanist’ approach to immigration, which he regarded as a positive phenomenon, he now pledges to suspend further immigration and to make France independent of the EU's legal institutions. As Ilyes Ramdani reports, Barnier’s sudden shift rightwards has proved a strategic success, notably among the nationalist current in his party.

EU's Brexit negotiator Barnier to run in French presidential election

France — Link

Michel Barnier, 70, who led the European Union's negotiations with Britain to reach a deal over the latter's departure from the bloc, has announced he will stand as a conservative candidate in next year's French presidential elections.

Prosecutor calls for pilots to be tried over bombing that killed French soldiers

France — Investigation

In 2004 a bombing raid killed nine French soldiers and an American aid worker at Bouaké in Ivory Coast. Fourteen years later, and after years of painstaking investigation in the face of bureaucratic obstruction from the French authorities, prosecutors in Paris have said that three pilots should stand trial over the attack. As Antton Rouget reports, it could also pave the way for three senior French government ministers at the time - Dominique de Villepin, Michèle Alliot-Marie and Michel Barnier – to stand trial too.

Former French FM Michel Barnier to head Brexit talks for EU

International — Link

The choice of former EU commissioner and French foreign minister to be EU's chief negotiator for Brexit was regarded by some in UK as a hostile move.

French ministers 'obstructed' Ivory Coast bombing probe

France — Investigation

In November 2004 nine French soldiers and an American humanitarian worker were killed at Bouaké in the Ivory Coast in a bombing raid carried out by that country's air force. Yet more than eleven years later the foreign mercenaries who are thought to have conducted the raid have never been brought to account. Now a French investigating judge has recommended that three senior French ministers who served under President Jacques Chirac at the time - Dominique de Villepin, Michèle Alliot-Marie and Michel Barnier – stand trial for hindering the initial investigation. Antton Rouget reports.

EC calls for private sector competition to manage social security services


The national social security services of European Union member states are to be opened up to private sector competition according to the terms of a proposed European Commission directive on public procurement. The directive, presented in December 2011 by European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, and due to be submitted to the European Parliament later this year, requires governments to launch a yearly invitation for tenders to manage sectors of their compulsory social security services, most of which until now have been managed according to the principle of social solidarity. Surprisingly, the proposal, contained in an annexe of the 246-page text of the directive, was until this month unnoticed by MEPs, several of whom have now mounted an urgent campaign to have it removed. Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.